By the Shore

Galaxy Craze

Published by Grove Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 0802136877 / ISBN 13: 9780802136879
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Synopsis: Published to great international acclaim, Galaxy Craze's best-selling debut, By the Shore, launched a young actress into literary fame. In clear and sparkling prose, her novel evokes a fragile, bittersweet world of youth on the cusp of adulthood and "captures perfectly the hopes and hurts of childhood" (The New York Times Book Review). Twelve-year-old May lives in a less than thriving oceanfront bed-and-breakfast run by her single mother. Her life is filled with the frustrations and promise of youth, complicated by a loving if distracted young mother who strives to care for her two children without forfeiting fun and passion. May puts her faith in the things that elude her - her absent father, the London city life left behind, the acceptance of the popular girls who have boyfriends -- and wonders if her life will ever change. When a kindly writer and his glamorous editor come to lodge in the weeks before Christmas, opportunities are in the air. But then May's playboy father, estranged from the family for years, drops in and threatens to freeze the delicate new possibilities stirring in all their lives.

Review: Twelve is a dreadful age for almost any girl, with its nonstop insecurity and humiliation. But May, the heroine of Galaxy Craze's By the Shore, seems to suffer considerably more than her share of unhappiness. Ignored by the popular clique at school, dressed by her mother in retro-hippie fashions that are anything but cool, she's a virtual poster child for preteen angst. And if adolescence weren't enough of a burden, May must also contend with a big dose of familial angst. Her mother, Lucy, runs a none-too-successful guesthouse on the English coast. Young and single, she spends more time gossiping and party hopping than tending to May and her brother Eden. And this distracted maternal style has, alas, exposed our heroine to machinations of grown-up life, which she tracks with fascination and horror. Her single remaining pocket of naiveté involves her estranged father, whose return she eagerly anticipates--even after an unassuming writer begins to pay court to her swinging mom. But this dream, too, is crushed when the genuine item shows up: "This is what happens to hope: it gets smaller and smaller." By the Shore does contain some of the typical properties of a coming-of-age drama. But Craze, a first-time novelist and actress, writes with acute insight and sympathy, and she understands one of the great consolations of adolescence: that even the tiniest kernel of hope can be enough to generate almost boundless happiness. --Brangien Davis

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Bibliographic Details

Title: By the Shore
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: New
Edition: 1st Pbk. Ed.

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